Kimberly Camera of Lorain has never been afraid of hard work. She’s worked a variety of jobs since she was a teenager. These days, though, she is adding a mental workout to her day as a student in the 22 + high school diploma program.
22+ is a free, credit-based, online diploma program that allows students to earn a high school diploma from the school district they live in. The program is offered by Graduation Alliance and Lorain County Community College. Students obtain their original high school transcripts and need to only earn credits they are missing. For Camera, that means she is just three credits away from her diploma.
“All these years, I didn’t realize I was just three credits away,” she said. “I missed a whole year of high school so I thought it would be a lot more credits than that.”
Camera, 53, dropped out of high school just before her senior year. She had moved in with relatives in Indiana that summer and decided to work full time rather than finish her last year of high school. She came back to Lorain a year or so later, where she married and raised three boys. She’s continued to work – often two jobs at a time. Currently, she puts in long hours cleaning houses and doing errands for elderly clients.
Camera’s husband, Chuck, heard about the 22 + program and knew it was the right fit for his wife, who has tried several GED programs but always fizzled out before completing.
“At first, I shot him down. I said, ‘Are you crazy? I can’t do that,’” Camera recalled. “But he pushed me to sign up. I’ve always wanted my diploma – not a GED. That’s why I know I can do it this time.”
After an orientation, Camera jumped right in with her English course. Soon after that, she began work in math and will soon tackle history. Along the way, she receives support from online tutors and her 22+ academic coach, Brittany Edwards.
“Kimberly has become an incredibly dedicated learner and I am very proud of her progress. I know she will get her diploma and I can’t wait to share that moment with her,” Edwards said.
Camera also receives plenty of support and help from her husband and three grown sons. It’s always a lot of work at the end of a long day at her job, but Camera knows it will be worth it when she sees that diploma with her name on it.
“Not having a diploma is like a giant scar that never goes away,” she said. “In the end, when I get this diploma it will be worth it. It will give me the confidence that I’ve been missing.”
To learn more about the 22+program, visit www.lorainccc.edu/22plus.